The Comparative Politics of Urban Water Policy in Mexico: Clientelism, Complexity, and Robust Governance

  • Citation: Raul Pacheco-Vega, The Comparative Politics of Urban Water Policy in Mexico: Clientelism, Complexity, and Robust Governance, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 28, Issue 4, October 2018, Pages 618–620
    • Topics:
    • Transnational Issues
    • Keywords:
    • Central America
    • privatization
    • water supply

Public service delivery is one of the most relevant yet, in some sectors, also one of the most understudied areas of public administration scholarship, particularly when considering the importance of local government-supplied services such as the provision of drinking water, wastewater treatment, sanitation, and the collection, transport, and disposal of garbage. Although there is a substantial body of work that has focused on whether privatization of these locally supplied services will yield positive or negative effects (Bel and Warner 2008; de Gouvello and Scott 2012), much less work on the political implications of public service delivery exists. How are water utilities and wastewater treatment plants harnessed as political tools? What factors drive uneven distribution in service delivery? These aspects are examined in the public service delivery literature to a lesser extent even though these services are extraordinarily important to sustain activities in urban contexts (Pacheco-Vega 2015). This is where Veronica Herrera’s work comes in rather handily. It is relatively easy to say that water is a natural resource that can be weaponized as a political tool, but it is much more difficult to demonstrate how. Herrera succeeds in showcasing how this weaponization occurs.

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